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Maamria: "It is exciting for everyone"

3 May 2019

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Dino Maamria says he and his squad are excited about tomorrow’s big game against Cheltenham Town, as Stevenage play for a Play-Off spot on the final day of the season...

Although Boro are underdogs to sneak into seventh, Maamria believes it is an achievement to even be in the conversation and that no matter what happens, his players deserve a terrific reception.

“It is fantastic for the football club. The journey we have made from where we were the last two seasons, to now be involved in a promotion push on the last game of the season, is exciting for everyone. When I took the job that is where I wanted to be, I would have liked to have been in a better position but the minimum was to be in the mix with the rest of them and we definitely are.

“The confidence has been high for a while now. The players are thriving in those games and the bigger the game, the better they are performing. The players are in a good place and hopefully we will attack the game and get the fans behind us from the first minute. Regardless where we finish tomorrow afternoon, those players have done the football club proud. It has been a long season, a tough season, some lows, loads of highs but that is football and that is why we love this game.”

Stevenage will need other results across the league to go their way if a Play-Off place is to be achieved, but Maamria says he won’t be taking any notice of other fixtures until after the final whistle.

“You can easily lose focus on the job you have got to do. Tomorrow we have got a tough game and we have to do what we have been doing the past five or six weeks to win the game. We have to win the game first and that is my message to our players this morning.

"Let’s not get distracted with anything and let’s not take it for granted that we are going to win. Cheltenham have been in decent form lately and they are playing without any fear. They are going for it and being ambitious with their play, they are a dangerous side.”

Ilias Chair has provided much of the inspiration towards Stevenage's late-season charge as his goals, assists and general play has wowed supporters ever since signing on Deadline Day in January. With Saturday’s match potentially being the last time that he turns out in a Stevenage shirt, Maamria says it has been a pleasure to coach one of the club’s all-time great players.

“Ilias is definitely the best player that has ever worn a Stevenage Football Club shirt and probably the best player that has played in League Two. I see him everyday and put all that aside, he is a fantastic kid to work with and it has been an absolute pleasure to work with him.

“If it is his last game tomorrow, and he is adamant it won’t be, we have got to appreciate him and enjoy watching him. Our fans have enjoyed having him, our players have enjoyed having him and our environment has enjoyed having him. I am sure next season he will at least be a regular in the Championship and we will keep track of him.”

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